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The Face of Fear

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I have been working as a psychologist since my early 30's.  When I was about 40, I thought I had seen it all. For about ten years, I had been working with people with the most bizarre problems that they needed to talk about. Then it happened. The most horrifying and disturbing event of my life.

It was a Sunday evening and I had to work the following day. I have always had sleeping problems, so I had a glass of whiskey and went to bed. Something was different this time. I immediately felt my eyelids become heavy and after just a few moments I was asleep. Then I had this disturbing dream. I'd never had such a nightmare before. In front of my face, just a few inches away, was the face of an old man. He had somewhat pale grey skin, and he was completely hairless. Not a single hair on his head or face--I don't even think he had eyelashes. The man had his eyes closed, and I had a constant feeling throughout the dream that he was going to open his eyes at any second. It might sound silly, but I had never been that afraid of seeing someone open their eyes before.

Anyway, the dream felt like it was going on for an eternity, and every moment was unbearable. Suddenly, the man opened his eyes and stared straight into my soul. His eyes had the most piercing look that I have ever seen. Then I woke up. It was 3:00 am. Covered in sweat I walked to the bathroom and took a long, hot shower. I didn't go back to bed again that night, but stayed up, watching television.

The following day I had a new patient, a young woman named Sarah. At first, she seemed very shy, and for quite some time I didn't think she was going to say anything at all. But as soon as she started talking, she became more confident. She started talking about dreams that she had been having, but she spoke about it in a way that made me feel like she was keeping me from knowing everything about these dreams. It felt like she was hiding something from me. As a psychologist, I know not to force my patients into telling me things, so I just tried to ignore it. She told me that someone in these dreams was giving her advice on how to live her life. This advice was bad, and she had decided not to follow it. She didn't want to tell me what this advice was, though. After work, I immediately took the car home, turned on some music, and laid down on my couch.

I didn't have a family, and I still don't. I think a lot, and have always thought that a family would come in the way of my free thinking.

I went to bed, this time without whiskey. Yet, I still immediately fell asleep. Then it came again, the dream. The old man, his closed eyes which suddenly opened, the piercing stare he gave me. It was just as horrifying this time. I still remember exactly how it felt, how I wanted to look away from his face, but I just couldn't. I woke up at 3:00 am again. Just as sweaty as last night, I walked to the bathroom. This time I didn't bother showering, I just sat down on the toilet seat and stared at the floor. The light from the bathroom was so bright, I thought I was going to go blind. I walked out of the bathroom, into the bedroom and just stood there, in the middle of the room without knowing what to do. Suddenly I saw something in the corner of my eye, in the bedroom window. I moved my sight to the window, and he was there, the old man. I couldn't see the rest of his body, just his face. He was staring at me with a disappointing look on his face. A chill went through my whole body, I blinked and he was gone. Was it just a hallucination or was it real? I went to bed and tried to stay awake as long as I could, but I fell asleep after an hour or so.

The following day Sarah showed up at my work again. This time she gave me some more information about her dreams. Apparently it was a man who had given her this advice, and he was still doing it. Every night. Sarah also acted in a very dull way. She showed less emotion than when I saw her yesterday, almost like she was distracted by something else.

The dream was back again. The man with his emotionless face, staring straight into my soul. It almost felt like he was more frightening every night. This time I immediately saw the man's face in the window when I woke up, also this time at 3:00 am. I blinked and he was gone.

Sarah showed even less emotion this time, and her face was a bit pale. She told me about the advice. The man in her dreams had told her to jump off a bridge.

The days went on and every night, after the dream, I would see the old man's face somewhere. I had started pulling the curtains over my bedroom window, but he just kept appearing in every window possible, it didn't matter what window. I would always see him in some way. After some time, the curtains started rolling themselves up. For every night I became more and more frightened. I thought I was going insane. I would sit in my bathroom ever night after the dream, and cry. Sarah showed less emotion at every meeting we had. She was so pale that she soon looked dead. She told me about how that man in her dreams, every night, gave here advice, which consisted of different ways for her to commit suicide. She gave me information of his appearance. Apparently the man looked just like the man in my dreams.

Then I did it. I told her everything. I told her about how I thought we shared different versions of the same dream. She started crying. I had never heard a cry with that much emotion before. We hugged for a long time, and I went home. I felt released, it felt like these times had finally come to an end. When I went to sleep that night, the dream didn't come. The dream that had been terrorizing me for what felt like an eternity didn't come. It was finally over. I called in sick from work, so I could get my mind on something else.

After three days of doing nothing I turned on the TV. The news was on. They were speaking about a missing young woman, who disappeared last night. Then a picture of Sarah came up on the screen. I was in shock. I couldn't believe my eyes. Still in shock I walked outside and emptied the mailbox. There was an unsigned letter there. When I opened it in the kitchen I saw a picture of a man's face. A man without any hair on his head, the man from my dreams. He was staring at me with his piercing eyes. But this time, he had a smile on his face, the smile was so disturbing that I had to look away for a few seconds. When I looked back the picture started moving. The man lifted a bloody hand.

He started waving.

It took me years to rebuild my life they way it was before all this happened. I didn't talk to anybody about what happened, since I didn't believe anybody would understand how serious this situation was to me. I quit my job as a psychologist, wrote a few books, and I actually became so successful on my new author job, that I could make a living out of it. Good luck? I guess so.


The picture on the website.

My books were thrillers, usually written in the point of view of a criminal. 

At the age of 51, I finally decided to start looking into what happened eleven years ago. I still wasn't sure what actually happened, but it was something special. That period of my life was so intense and strange. There must have been some meaning behind that dream, and all the hallucinations. I bought books about dream interpretation, and I started looking into the specific dream I had, on the internet. 

I tried to Google everything. The man, his face, Sarah, the waving picture, but I found nothing. One night, out of pure frustration, I smashed my head into the keyboard. Some random letters appeared in the search bar. For some reason, even though I knew I wasn't going to find anything, I pressed search. One result.

I clicked on the link and a blank page popped up. After a couple of seconds a picture loaded. I could not believe my eyes, it was a picture of a pale, grey face, with piercing eyes, staring straight into my soul. I was frightened, I had not felt such fear for over ten years. It didn't look completely like the man in my dreams, though. The man in the picture had a couple of barely visible eyebrows. But they were there.

I saved the picture on my computer.

When I went to sleep that night, I felt incredibly tired. Unusually tired. I fell asleep almost immediately. The dream was back. The man, his stare, and his hairless face. I woke up sweaty and looked for the man to be in my window. He wasn't there, not in any other window either. I walked to the bathroom and took a cold shower. After the shower, I stood in front of the mirror for a long time, looking at myself. Then the lights went off. I felt really uneasy. The sweat started dripping down my neck. Suddenly the light flashed on and off. I saw the old man's face behind me in the mirror for a moment. Now I thought I was going to die. I ran to the bedroom and locked the door. I had seen the man before, but never inside my own house. I had never been that scared before.

During breakfast the next morning, I came to a conclusion. This was real. This was not just my mind playing a game with me. The breakfast ended with more questions than answers, though. Who was this man? What did he want from me? Did he want to hurt me? One particular question felt really important to me: Why did he stop haunting me after Sarah disappeared, and why did he start haunting me again as soon as I started investigating him? I thought about that picture I got in the mailbox. The waving picture. Was he the cause of Sarah's disappearance? Well, a normal human being cannot make a picture move.

When I fell asleep that night, I had that dream again. But this time, something was different. While the old man was still having his eyes closed, a black cross appeared in the middle of his forehead. The cross looked like it was carved into his forehead. When he opened his eyes, the stare was even more intimidating this time. I almost felt hypnotized. When I woke up this time, I wasn't sweaty. I was freezing. No windows were open, so this was very odd. The door to my room wasn't closed this time, I must have forgotten to close it. I looked down the hallway outside my room. There was a closet in the end of the hallway. Out of the closet walked a white, human-looking shape. It had the face of the old man. He was staring at me with his piercing eyes. All of a sudden he started running straight towards me. I was so sure that this was my death. But when he was just in front of my bed, he disappeared. He turned into fog, and disappeared. It was like he faded away. I passed out. 

The following morning I only had one question. Out of all the things that happened, I only had one question: Why did a cross appear on his forehead? The first thing that happened this morning was me asking myself that question. This morning I had a strange feeling. Everything looked different. There was a slight fog everywhere I looked. I walked out the door and looked outside. Everything was foggy. It was like I was experiencing the Silent Hill games in real life.

There was a big forest behind my house, it was one of those deep, dark forests that no one had been inside for an eternity. It was still dark outside. When I moved my sight to the forest I saw a white shape. But this was not the old man. This was a woman. A woman with blonde hair, wearing a long dress. It was Sarah, I knew it. I started walking towards her, but as I started moving, she seemed to move backwards. But I kept following her into the forest. As I walked further into the forest, everything was getting darker and darker. After at least twenty minutes of walking I was in the middle of the forest. I gave up.

Then, I saw how she started moving towards me. But she wasn't walking, it was like she was hovering a couple of inches above the ground. She stopped moving when she was about two meters away from me. She looked ghostly. She was pale as a corpse. Suddenly, a goat walked out of some bushes about 5 meters away. This was not a usual goat. It had red, glowing eyes and longer, sharper horns. It looked like it came straight from a movie. The goat walked up to us, and stared at us both. Suddenly, it ran up behind Sarah and pierced her through the back with one of its horns. Blood dripped from her mouth and she made the most painful scream you can imagine. I passed out again.

I woke up in my bed at 10:00 am. I was frustrated, I didn't know when I was dreaming and when I was awake. I was starting to lose my sanity. When I got out of my bed I found an old Bible in the end of the blanket. This was odd. I started my computer and started looking for everything I could find about Sarah. After some time I found out that Sarah used to be a heroin addict. This was way before I knew her. I also found that she had been arrested several times for stealing. Probably to get money for the heroin. 

I had never been a person of faith before. But now I was really starting to wonder. Stealing is a sin in the Bible. Sarah used to steal to feed her heroin addiction. The man in her dreams told her to commit suicide. What if that man was God, and he wanted Sarah to commit suicide, so that she could be punished in Hell for her sins? I was trying to make Sarah stop listening to him, and he started visiting me. To keep me out of everything. Now, I had started investigating everything. God did not like that. So he started haunting me again. The forest I visited must have been Hell, and the goat was Satan, punishing Sarah for her sins.

It sounded ridiculous. But what if it was true? In that case, God is not that much of a forgiving person as everybody thinks he is.

I guess that is yet to be found out, huh?

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